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Grant number: AQ-234985-16

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Winona State University (Winona, MN 55987-3384)
Rafael Fernando Narvaez Vargas (Project Director: August 2015 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on Soul, Mind, and Body

The development and teaching of a new undergraduate course on the relationship between the mind and the body.

Plato postulated that whereas the human body partakes from a lower material order characterized by change and decay (the order of becoming), the soul, by contrast, belongs to a higher and unchanging eternal order (the order of being). This proposition set in motion a millennial concern with questions about body and soul, and attendant debates about the preeminence of materiality or spirituality. Arguably all canonical schools, from Christianity to Materialism, from Idealism to Surrealism, to Third Wave Feminism, have grappled with these questions. The class I propose will survey the history of these debates about body and soul, and their second-order order variants: flesh/spirit, materialism/idealism, profane/sacred and becoming/being. Students will examine the competing answers that writers and artists have provided, and whether and how these debates have marked Western culture, particularly the modern imagination: the ways we understand and indeed experience the world and the self.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Western Civilization

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$19,932 (approved)
$19,932 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 9/30/2018